Thursday, July 07, 2011

"Arabick Roots" Exhibition at the Royal Society

by Salman Hameed

If you are in London, you can check out the exhibit Arabick Roots at the Royal Society. It looks at various scientific links of European scholars with the various parts of the Muslim world at the time of the founding of the Royal Society in the 17th century. The exhibition runs until November. Here is a short blurb from Science about Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius and his request for the star maps of Ulugh Beg - a 15th century astronomer and a ruler from Samarkand:
When Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius began working on his 1687 map of the stars, he wrote to German theologian Henry Oldenburg, secretary of the Royal Society in England. The request: to locate the 15th century star map of astronomer Ulugh Beg of Samarkand and translate it from Persian. The Royal Society fulfilled his request, and the map guided Hevelius's new observations. This frontispiece to Hevelius's map pays homage to Beg; as Hevelius presents the book to Urania, muse of astronomy, the top 10 astronomers of all time look on. Beg is third from left.
“He crossed many centuries with that image, putting many people shoulder to shoulder,” says astrophysicist Rim Turkmani, curator of Arabick Roots, which opened 9 June at the Royal Society in London. “It's a nice gesture from him to say thank you.” The exhibition's letters, manuscripts, diagrams, and instruments chronicling the flow of scientific knowledge from the Arab world to Europe in the 17th century will be on view until November.         
Here is the website for Arabick Roots. This scientific interaction should not really come as a surprise, and I had a post a few years ago about that: Science versus Humanities in the European Renaissance

1 comment:

Junaid Bhatti said...

You can also watch a short video about the Arabick Roots exhibition and view clips from its Royal launch event here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-WuzUpKs7g